Venture Capital (VC) investment in the U.S. continued performing at a high level during Q1 ’19 with $32.6 billion invested as the U.S. economy remained strong, and increased IPO activity set the stage for further investment at all points of the deal spectrum — from early stage to late stage, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse Q1′ 2019 report.
The largest deals in Q1’19 included a $5 billion raise by shared-space provider The We Company (formerly WeWork), and a $1 billion raise by freight logistics company Flexport – earning that company coveted unicorn status.
“In the past five years, the number of U.S. unicorns has more than doubled to over 160 as private capital is readily available allowing companies to stay private longer,” said Brian Hughes, National Co-leader, KPMG Venture Capital practice in the U.S. “We finally saw some unicorns choosing to go public in late 2018, and this unicorn IPO trend is expected to continue well into this year, spurred by recent high profile offerings and the ongoing strength of the public markets.”
Lyft hosted a successful IPO on Nasdaq in late March, raising $2.3 billion to value the company at $24 billion. It is the first in a line of large IPO unicorns expected in 2019, with ride-hailing company Uber also expected to file publicly, amongst others. The good performance of these unicorn companies in the early part of 2019 will trigger more investor interest in mature unicorns later in the year, in addition to providing additional capital for early stage deals.
U.S. investors continued to invest in established verticals in Q1’19, including food-delivery, healthcare and transportation, while mega-funds gained a significant amount of attention, coupled with strong activity in smaller-size funds.
Growth and Innovation Occurring Beyond Silicon Valley
The report found a growing boom of VC investment outside of Silicon Valley and the West Coast. In 2018, while 39 percent of VC deals occurred on the West Coast, 20 percent occurred in the Mid-Atlantic region, 9 percent in New England, and 9 percent in the Great Lakes region. These numbers reflect the growing number of innovation hubs appearing in cities such as New York, Boston and others –a trend continuing this year.
In Q1’19, New York and New Jersey both attracted big deals, such as The We Company’s $5 billion raise, and Knock’s $400 million raise.
Among companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, there has been a shift toward scaling outside of the Valley in order to access or attract talent and better manage labor and space costs. Late in 2018, for example, Slack announced a new Denver Office, while other companies set up offices in Arizona, Salt Lake City and beyond. This trend is only expected to continue as companies look to balance a presence in the Valley with the need to scale and grow efficiently.
Digital Banking Heats Up
The digital banking space in the US continued to gain traction in Q1’19. Chime’s Q1’19 $200 million raise earned it unicorn status, with a number of non-U.S.-based banks voicing plans to raise capital to fund a U.S. expansion.
The U.S. is well positioned for growth
The maturing fintech sector is also expected to see more M&A activity as companies are looking for scale and consolidate market share. In Q1’19, FIS announced plans to acquire Worldplay in a $34 billion deal.
“The story in the U.S. continues to be very positive. The 2018 IPOs generally performed very well and the pre-public companies that have completed financings recently have been at high valuations,” said Conor Moore, National Co-Lead Partner, KPMG Venture Capital practice in the U.S. “This should encourage greater investment at all points on the investment spectrum from seed to late stage.”
SOURCE KPMG LLP
Mercari Opens Cambridge Engineering Offices
Mercari, The Selling App, today announced the opening of engineering offices in Cambridge, MA, advised by two renowned professors at the adjacent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Mercari is the number-one marketplace in Japan. Since entering the U.S. in 2014, more than 45 million Americans have downloaded the app.
At the moment, Mercari’s team in Cambridge is focused on better understanding sellers and buyers, and predicting their intentions ahead of their actions. This helps Mercari deliver a more personalized experience using its recommendation engine. The team is applying machine learning on massive amounts of data to better personalize the user experience based on their preferences, history and interactions.
More broadly, this team is pursuing applied research projects in machine learning, computer vision and other emerging technologies that can help Mercari to make selling even easier than buying.
“Opening the Mercari engineering offices in Cambridge is an important addition to our global technology centers in Palo Alto and Tokyo,” said Dr. Mok Oh, chief technology officer for Mercari U.S. “The expectations of Mercari sellers and buyers are always evolving, so it’s vital that we harness emerging technologies to continuously improve our app and services.”
Advising the team are Dr. Frédo Durand and Dr. Wojciech Matusik of MIT.
Dr. Frédo Durand is a renowned researcher and professor in computer vision and computational photography. He is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and a member of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
Dr. Wojciech Matusik is widely-recognized professor and entrepreneur in machine learning, 3D vision, and 3D fabrications. He is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, where co-directs the Computer Graphics Group and teaches machine learning courses
Mercari is looking for talented people to join its technology teams in Palo Alto and Cambridge. A list of all current U.S. openings is here.
Aiozium Launched SaaS-based Marketing Intelligence Tool Powered by AI
Aiozium, a new launch of Crowdnik Networks Private Limited, is a SaaS-based platform for marketers powered by machine learning techniques in a different way. The tool has intelligence for self-correction and self-learning for better campaign optimization and high ROI.
Aiozium is a multi-dimensional platform that not only reads the data, makes sense of all the data and generate actionable insights on them, but also gives the real-time information about customer behavior. It builds the trend of the customers based on a various emotional and behavioral algorithm which leads to prediction and results in an increase of leads by selecting the best marketing mix and marketing strategies for optimum use of resources which results in greater ROI.
Reason Why Every Marketer Needs Aiozium
Aiozium is marketing ally, it is a tool for all the marketers which makes life simpler and completes the customer journey with ease.
– Emotional Algo: It is said that the only difference between Robot and Human is the emotions or the feel factor. Emotional algo consists of human psychological ethos. It analyses the behavior basis on different kinds of emotions exhibited by humans. It helps in analyzing the marketing communications, activities and asses their value. It also measures and analyses the emotions of a person towards buying the product.
– Contextual Algo: It analyses the content across various channels viz. website, email and all communication platforms based on multiple parameters such as aggression, transaction, emotion etc. It also analyses whether the user is persuaded with the interaction or not, basis on which it predicts the usefulness of the content.
– Behavior Algo: Based on historical and real-time customer behavior across all channels with prospective data listening mechanism, this model can learn, react and predict the most accurate customer flow for maximum conversion. It predicts the probability of the rate of conversion through Machine Learning, Deep learning, Natural Language processing and Augmented Visualization.
How Is It Going To Benefit The End-users:
On-boarding with Aiozium will reduce the marketing expenses by cutting down the misspend funds and optimizing the campaign to increase the ROI. It remembers and recollects the historical hand burns and successful campaigns and accordingly suggests marketers the most accurate pathway to follow. It also learns the customer behavior towards marketer’s product line. The best part of Aiozium is that it works across channels and sync with all the digital assets in a single click.
Automate, Sit Back and Relax
Aiozium is inviting the industry experts to have a test drive on their AI Marketing Ally. To book a slot, schedule a demo at https://www.aiozium.com/demo.html
Oracle Data Cloud and Reddit Collaborate to Build Brand Safety Solution for Dynamic User-Generated Content
Oracle Data Cloud today announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Reddit to provide new brand safety controls for advertisers around a real-time feed of user-generated content (UGC). Leveraging Oracle’s Contextual Intelligence technology, the integration will provide real-time content review and classification across industry-standard brand safety categories, giving advertisers greater control over where, and around what content, their campaigns run.
“Given the tremendous volume and dynamic nature of content across the Reddit platform, Oracle’s Contextual Intelligence will offer the ideal solution to provide real-time brand safety for Reddit advertisers,” said Kurt Kratchman, Group Vice President for Product Development and International, Oracle Data Cloud. “With Oracle’s Contextual Intelligence deployed across the majority of the addressable footprint of the open web, our collaboration with Reddit serves as a natural extension into the UGC space, as we help advertisers ensure their advertising strengthens their brands.”
User-generated content has historically presented a challenge for brand safety services, as many third-party solutions do not accurately describe or categorize the scope and scale of dynamic content online. Oracle’s Contextual Intelligence integration with Reddit is a solution designed for UGC that looks not only for specific terms but also for the context in which they are used, to help advertisers place their ads in safe and brand-appropriate contexts on the Reddit platform.
“Among Reddit’s strongest propositions for advertisers is the depth and authenticity of conversations across thousands of interest-based communities,” said Jen Wong, Reddit’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our current approach to brand safety includes effective moderation at the platform, community and campaign levels, and we’re thrilled to leverage Oracle’s Contextual Intelligence to offer yet another layer of brand safety that’s 3rd-party verified and customized for Reddit’s engagement. Our work with Oracle will be the first time a UGC platform has embarked on a verified brand safety solution for custom feeds, and we’re excited to evolve the product and relationship to meet the demands of the market.”
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